Hotels across the country are hoping the long summer of sport will boost revenueduring what is a usually slow season, kicking off with the start of Euro 2012 football tournament today.
Usually, June is part of the low season for the hospitality industry in the UAE. But hotels are hoping an increase in food and beverage sales will generate extra revenues as they set up special venues for customers to watch the European extravaganza.
Atlantis The Palm in Dubai has decked out a tented venue for the matches with space for 1,000 fans. The hotel has hired a 10 metre by 6 metre screen especially for the Euro 2012 championship, which lasts for more than three weeks. Live entertainment at the venue, entrance to which is free of charge, will include football jugglers, Atlantis said.
"We've gone all-out," said Dima Ayad, the director of food and beverage marketing and entertainment at the Atlantis resort. This gave the hotel the chance to generate extra revenue as it stopped its Sandance music events on the beach for the summer, she said.
McGettigan's at Dubai's Bonnington hotel in Jumeirah Lakes Towers has an air-conditioned venue and 20 screens to show the games.
"Sporting tournaments are massive because what they do is they create additional revenue on nights that would have been quiet," said Declan Pierce, the creative director at McGettigan's and Bonnington group.
"Ireland versus Croatia this Sunday coming should be an extremely popular night - I would say probably double the revenue for ourselves," Mr Pierce said. "The kick-off times, because they're at night time, they're great for the UAE socially, so it's created a little bit of extra interest."
The Olympics are also likely to be another event that will drive business this summer.
"We'll be showing it," said Mr Pierce. "We'll have the same amount of screens as there will be for the European championship. It obviously helps."
The Beach Rotana hotel in Abu Dhabi is also generating extra room revenue with a special accommodation package. This includes an overnight stay and breakfast for two, two special-edition Euro 2012 T-shirts and two welcome drinks for one match, all for Dh475 (US$129).
"The bookings are picking up actually," said Jasmine Arika, the director of marketing and communications at Beach Rotana. The hotel is converting the terrace and courtyard at its German bar Brauhaus into a Euro 2012 "village".
Ms Arika estimated that food and beverage revenue could be boosted by between 30 and 40 per cent above normal trade as a result of Euro 2012. The England, Germany and Spain matches are expected to draw the biggest crowds.
However, hoteliers say the licensing rights to show the matches will cost up to tens of thousands of dollars.
Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort in Dubai has set up an air-conditioned tent at its Barasti bar, which can cater for up to 800 spectators.
"It's a stadium-style setting," said Derryn French, the director of marketing and communications at the hotel. The venue has a big screen and VIP areas with individual screens. The matches will also be broadcast on other screens around Barasti.